Saturday, March 29, 2014

Unbalanced Antagonism: The UWA Vice-Chancellor stands up to a "vexatious" blogger

Sou | 3:14 PM Go to the first of 56 comments. Add a comment

Update (9 April 2014)

Professor Ugo Bardi resigns in protest :
"I am taking the strongest action I can take, that is I am resigning from "Chief Specialty Editor" of Frontiers in protest against the behavior of the journal in the "Recursive Fury" case. I sent to the editors a letter today, stating my intention to resign."

Addendum - I've added an addendum on "psychological disorders".

...or "Go Jump", Stephen McIntyre!

At WUWT Anthony Watts posted a teaser at WUWT (archived here), which was the first bit of an article by Steve McIntyre from ClimateAudit (archived here, updated here).  Steve's nose is out of joint because he couldn't get personal details (ie IP addresses) of people who responded to the "moon landing" survey conducted by Stephan Lewandowsky of UWA and colleagues.

Steve McIntyre is a Canadian blogger who is or used to be involved in mining companies. He spends a lot of time trying to prove all the scientists are wrong.  His main tools are rhetoric, hyperbole, MS Excel, R and a perpetual sense of aggrievement that few outside of the denier blogosphere will give him the time of day.  He has no scientific expertise in climate or any relevant qualifications - and it shows. His personal qualities of obsessive compulsiveness, innate paranoia, general ungraciousness, tendency to deceive when it suits him, a reputation for shifting from request to harassment, and generally unlikeable cyber-personality fit him well for the role he's chosen at this late stage in his life.

Steve got a response from UWA, which he isn't shy about sharing, so I see no need to be reluctant to post the letter either.

Here it is.  It's from the Vice-Chancellor himself as posted by Steve McIntyre (archived here).

Dear Mr McIntyre,
I refer to your series of emails to University officers including Professor Maybery and myself (which you have copied to other recipients including the Australian Research Council) in which you request access to Professor Lewandowsky’s data.
I am aware that you have made inflammatory statements on your weblog “Climate Audit” under the heading “Lewandowsky Ghost-wrote Conclusions of UWA Ethics Investigation into “Hoax”” including attacks on the character and professionalism of University staff. It is apparent that your antagonism towards Professor Lewandowsky’s research is so unbalanced that there is no useful purpose to be served in corresponding with you further. I regard your continued correspondence to be vexatious and there will be no further response to your requests for data.
Yours faithfully,
Professor Paul Johnson,

About bloody time, is all I can say.  No, I don't mean that Professor Johnson should have replied sooner.  I mean it's about bloody time someone other than the harassed researchers themselves told Steve McIntyre where to go.  And I'm proud to say it was the Vice-Chancellor of an Australian university that told him to go jump in no uncertain terms.

Of course I don't know if the Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia has ever put him straight or any of the other Vice-Chancellors or Rectors or whoever is the Person-in-Charge of different universities in the world.  Whether they have or they haven't, Steve has now made public a letter than I hope will be produced and waved in front of every single one of them if one of their academic or general staff ever gets approached by The Auditor or one of his followers doing his bidding.

If you think that the Vice-Chancellor's response was a bit over-the-top, it's not.  Just have a gander at this. Steve is obsessed, frustrated because he isn't able to understand the stats. He accuses Professor Lewandowsky of fraud and fakery in multiple articles.  He even dreams up conspiracy theories of his own.  And while you read through his litany of articles note that he doesn't put up multiple dumb articles every day like Anthony Watts.  He posts maybe two or three a week on average - and that's in a prolific month.

Notice how Steve focuses almost solely on Professor Lewandowsky and ignores the fact that the moon landing paper had two other authors, including Prof. Dr Klaus Oberauer and A/Prof Gilles Gignac.  I expect that Stephan Lewandowsky and Klaus Oberauer are more than sufficiently able to apply statistical analysis to their research.  Still, they brought Gilles Gignac on board.  Gilles is an expert in psychometric analysis.  He's worked for commercial organisations as well as his academic research.

Here are just a few of the articles by Steve McIntyre:

Anatomy of the Lewandowsky Scam (a large part of this article was a long complaint about how people use the word "deniers" when referring to people who deny science, as in "climate science deniers".)

Trying (Unsuccessfully) to Replicate Lewandowsky - where he confesses that the statistics used by the researchers (and common in cognitive science) is beyond him.  He can't treat the data like he does core tops.  In this one he even says "My guess is that SEM either does not permit “robust” techniques or that Lewandowsky didnt know how to use them."  But there is more to statistics than Steve knows or understands.  Steve is trying to learn some new statistics but doesn't have what it takes and as far as I can tell, he's never bothered to learn in all the time he's had since. (See here and  here for discussions of the stats. And here's a short introduction to Exploratory Factor Analysis if you're interested.)

I did a search for "exploratory factor analysis" on climate audit and didn't see anywhere that Steve McIntyre used the term, though I found a page where some other people drew it to his attention (which he seems to have ignored). Which leads into where Steve accuses Professor Lewandowsky of being a conspiracy theorist:

Conspiracy-Theorist Lewandowsky Tries to Manufacture Doubt

Lewandowsky’s Fake Correlation - another article in which Steve accuses fakery and shows his incompetence at stats.

More Deception in the Lewandowsky Data As well as the title, this article is significant for being the only mention of a "replicate" survey conducted at WUWT, which Steve didn't analyse properly and which was subsequently buried.  AFAIK it never ever saw the light of day from that point onward.

Oh, that's just a small number of the multiple articles by Steve McIntyre accusing Professor Lewandowsky of all sorts of nefarious actions (refer to "Recursive Furies" to see subscribing nefarious intent can be a marker of conspiracy ideation :D)  And how Steve liberally spatters his headlines and articles with words such as "scam", "fake", "deception" and "fraudulent".  There are loads more where that came from - and more and still more and there's even a fourth page of them.

The letter from the University of Western Australia Vice-Chancellor will not help Steve McIntyre next time he decides to host and foster a harassment campaign against climate scientists (or cognitive scientists or climate philosophers).

PS Steve has said he's trying to get someone else to surreptitiously get data for him to misconstrue.  Guess who else put up his hand. None other than Eric "eugenics" Worrall!

Addendum on psychological disorders

I noticed in his email to the Head of the School of Psychology at UWA (which Steve signed with "regards"!), that Steve McIntyre states that in the Recursive Fury paper, the authors, or to be precise, that one of the authors (Stephan Lewandowsky - not sure how Steve figured which author wrote what):
"purported to diagnose that I have psychological disorders".  

I looked for any mention of Steve in that paper and I didn't see anywhere that alleged he had "psychological disorders".  All I found was one reference in the text (to McI) and his name in Table 3, listing four separate hypotheses on his blog, which between them could be classified as NI=nefarious intent; NS=nihilistic skepticism; PV=persecuted victim; MbW=must be wrong; NoA=no accident; and UCT=unreflexive counterfactual thinking.

I didn't see anything in the paper that states that evidence of conspiracy ideation means a person has "psychological disorders".  The words "psychological disorder" were not used in the paper. There was this sentence that could indicate where conspiracist ideation rates in terms of "psychological disorder"
We suggest that conspiracist ideation, like most other psychological constructs (e.g., extraversion), represents a continuum that finds expression to varying extents in theories of varying scope.

Does this mean that Steve thinks all extraverts have a psychological disorder?

Perhaps Steve's comment is more evidence of PV=persecuted victim with a hint of MbW=must be wrong.     Then again I CbW=could be wrong, because I'm not an expert in cognitive science.

Added by Sou 30 March 2014.

From the WUWT comments

The usual moans and lies from WUWT.

Lil Fella from OZ says ... er what?:
March 28, 2014 at 5:45 pm
Let’s close ranks!

Velcro tells a big fat lie and says:
March 28, 2014 at 6:25 pm
Never expect a university with ivy on the walls to ever change or admit its errors. No wonder UWA is now the last ranked university in WA

No it's not ranked last. It's ranked first.  There are five universities in Western Australia - Curtin, Edith Cowan, Murdoch, University of Notre Dame and the University of Western Australia.  Of these, only one is ranked among the top 200 universities in the world and that's the University of Western Australia, on The Times Higher Education World University Rankings.  It ranks 7th in Australia on this world ranking.

Ric Werme says "I'll show you, Professor Lewandowsky" - ha ha ha ha ha
March 28, 2014 at 6:17 pm
That does it, I’m voting for Lewandowsky as ‘Climate Duplicitist of the Year’ award. Perhaps there should be a team category too.

hunter is a master orator - not! and says:
March 28, 2014 at 6:16 pm
That is how guilty arrogant babies respond after being called out.

bushbunny points out that UWA is not all bad :) - except he's wrong AFAIK, and says:
March 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm
Didn’t Tim Flannery also work there once? Why don’t you check that out.


Dave said...

What a thin-skinned obsessive nutter. He probably does believe that the moon landing was a hoax. I can see why "Steve" hates Lewandowsky so much. It's all psycho babble nonsense, but he was able to understand some of it that it hit a very sensitive nerve.

Brought to you by Brawndo - the Thirst Mutilator!!

Millicent said...

I have only a small sample of Climate Audit posts on which to make my judgement but they were characterised by snide comments and insinuations: the site seems to serve as a benchmark for how unpleasant climate change deniers are. Yet more evidence that climate change deniers are not decent, but misguided people, but something far worse.

So bravo to the UWA. The reply given in the case of Arkell vs Pressdram would have been appropriate.


Eileen said...

The FOIA folks in the UK slapped him down pretty strongly for one of his attacks:


citizenschallenge said...

"PS Steve has said he's trying to get someone else to surreptitiously get data for him to misconstrue. Guess who else put up his hand. None other than Eric "eugenics" Worrall!."

Hmmm, another hack attack in the offing?

citizenschallenge said...

Good score.
Thanks for sharing.


Sou said...

There's now an addendum added, on psychological disorders and Steve's view of same. (Does being an extravert mean one has a "psychological disorder"?)

MrPete said...

Wow. You say "Steve is trying to learn some new statistics but doesn't have what it takes and as far as I can tell, he's never bothered to learn in all the time he's had since."
Did you read what McIntyre wrote in the longer comment thread(s) that followed? He provided an education, with references, to those who were questioning him.
Steve has written peer-reviewed articles on these topics. And other commenters at his blog do stats professionally every day.

At http://archive.is/PzTdA you might find the 9/21/2012 10:18am comment (and link) informative. :-D
What really happened was Lewandowsky described his methods incorrectly, and until McIntyre guessed what was actually done, he was unable to replicate the results. Once he guessed the correct method (which was NOT described in the paper), he was able to replicate with ease.

Sou said...

The "new statistics" I was referring to I described in the article - in particular, exploratory factor analysis.

They are not "new" per se, but they are "new" to Steve. As far as I can tell, Steve didn't get very far in learning them. In fact he didn't seem to get anywhere at all.

John Mashey said...

Yes, but his best-known statistics piece, he made multiple mistakes, and then still needed a 100:1 cherry-pick to get the desird results.

So, is that a minor mistake fraud ... except when he does it, then it's fine.
(I've looked at the R code.)

Sou said...

Of course that isn't the major point. The point is the extent to which people who have a tendency to conspiracy ideation have gone completely overboard in denying it, flip flopping from "it was all a conspiracy to prove we're conspiracy theorists' to trying to find some ethical fault in exploring the conspiracy ideation and its development in a wonderful example of same.

Such a furor! So many blog articles. So much supposition and allegations of nefarious intent. One might say recursive fury :)

I wonder what the conspiracy theorists will come up with next. Blogs continue to generate a wealth of material for cognitive scientists, PhD candidates and post-docs.

Will Richardson said...

I am a bit confused. What did McIntyre do that was vexatious? The letter from the Vice Chancellor seems to indicate that he is denying McIntyre access to the data from Lewandowsky's paper because he objects to McIntyre's blog post that accurately described how Lewandowsky got ethics approval for his research methodology. I thought scientists were supposed to share their research data and methods so others could replicate the paper. The Vice Chancellor's university has a written policy (UWA Data Sharing which encourages its researchers to share their data and methods. Why is the Vice Chancellor abandoning that policy because McIntyre is involved?

Sou said...

I can't speak for the Vice-Chancellor.

However you'll no doubt have noted that in Steve's article he writes that he's written to UWA multiple times, not just the once. Take that together with his multiplicity of blog attacks, particularly the stance he's taken on his blog, show that he is not interested in the science as such. One of his goals is to try to prove that he doesn't have a tendency to conspiracy ideation (the more he protests the bigger he fails in that regard).

But I'd guess his bigger goal is the same as always. He tries to find a flaw, no matter how tiny, in a piece of research and then shout to the world something along the lines of "see, the entire body of paleoclimatology/cognitive science is wrong".

More particularly in this particular case "Professor Lewandowsky is a" [insert some of Steve's descriptors]. He has peppered his previous articles with words such as "fraudulent, scam, fake" etc etc.

Steve is most certainly not the gentleman he says he is. As he says in this particular article, if one goes back and "re-reads" his insinuations, it's not that easy to pin him down to actual libel. But he sure skirts close to the edge. It would take a court case to find out if he's wrong and slips over the edge at times.

Will Richardson said...

Sou at March 30, 2014.

I see now. He wrote multiple times and did not receive a reply, he dropped the matter for a while, and then asked again; that was "vexatious". So the University of Western Australia should deny the data and methodology materials to McIntyre because he is vexatious and critical of Lewandowsky's paper. By the way, I would appreciate a specific reference to any written record of McIntyre concluding that "'the entire body of paleoclimatology/cognitive science is wrong'", or ever using the descriptors "fraudulent" or "fake" about a research paper he has criticized. You could surely provide me a link to such statements on his blog so that I could comment on them myself.

Sou said...

Steve himself doesn't claim that "the entire body of [whatever science] is wrong". He leaves his insinuations for other people to draw conclusions. And many if not most of his readers are looking for an excuse to claim that climate science is a hoax. That's the audience he panders to.

In regard to his use of words "fraudulent", "fake" etc, re-read my article and follow the links - Steve has used these words multiple times in relation to Lewandowsky's research - as well as "scam" and "hoax" (and similar elsewhere too).

Try a specific google search. Or a more general Google search.

Will Richardson said...

Sou, you must have misunderstood me. I was looking for a link to where McIntyre said those things, not where someone else characterizes or paraphrases McIntyre's words. I now also understand that you are not saying that McIntyre concludes that "'the entire body of paleoclimatology/cognitive science is wrong'", but that others who follow McIntyre's work draw that conclusion. Thank you for clarifying that for me. You had confused me again.

Dave said...

Will wrote
"I was looking for a link to where McIntyre said those things, not where someone else characterizes or paraphrases McIntyre's words."

Will, you are coming across as someone who is unable to comprehend simple English, and in the process looking like a complete buffoon.

Sou did provide you with a link with 82 instances of McIntyre "using the descriptors "fraudulent" or "fake" about a research paper he has criticised". It was NOT someone else's characterisation, but McIntyre himself. Really, if you even bothered to click on the link you would have easily seen this, and so not be continually asking vexatious questions.

I can also understand now why you don't comprehend what vexatious is, since you yourself are now becoming vexatious!!

No wonder you are so easily confused!!

Sou said...

One recent example I recall was when Steve McIntyre trying to argue that the Marcott study was wrong. But Steve was focusing on the core tops instead of the cores and other proxies (and IIRC Steve was wrong in that case, too).

That was a classic example of how he tried to distract his follower's attention from the study itself. He focused solely on the most recent years instead of on the previous 11,000 years. Steve acted as if he wanted to hide (or even deny) what Marcott et al's research suggested - we are already experiencing an Earth that is as hot as or maybe even hotter than any time in the past 11,000 years. And global warming has only just started to kick in. As long as we continue to pour CO2 into the air global warming will continue at its extremely rapid pace.

Sou said...

Will, I have provided multiple links where "Steve said that himself" - in the above article and in the google search. Steve himself applied the words "scam, hoax, fraudulent, fake" and more to Professor Lewandowsky's research. Dave even counted the instances - but I haven't checked his numbers. Steve even used some of those words in his headlines, for people who can't be bothered reading his turgid prose.

Will Richardson said...

I did look through the links. I see where other people have said that McIntyre used the word "fraudulent" to describe a paper or called a person a fraud. I have looked through the links Sou provided above, and have searched through McIntyre's blog and have not discovered any instances such as you describe. I am just asking for a single link and reference to McIntyre using the words in his writing. You are obviously more conversant with those references than I am.

Sou said...

Now you are cherrypicking words, Will. You may be blind to words on a computer screen, but to save others the bother of searching and reading my article, here are just a few examples (again):

Lewandowsky’s Fake Correlation - a headline by Steve McIntyre.

Anatomy of the Lewandowsky Scam - another headline by Steve McIntyre.

More Deception in the Lewandowsky Data - another headline by Steve McIntyre.

Lewandowsky’s Fake Results - another headline by Steve McIntyre. His first sentence in that article he accuses Professor Lewandowsky of faking results and telling lies: "In addition to Lewandowsky using fake data, many of Lewandowsky’s results, including the result in his title, are fake as well. Lewandowsky’s claimed yesterday that their “results withstand skeptical scrutiny”, but this claim is untrue ." To "support" his claim, Steve first removes some data that he doesn't like, then the rest of his article shows he doesn't have a clue about the actual analysis. He calls the research "bogus".

There's plenty more of the same.

Dave said...

Will wrote.

"I see where other people have said that McIntyre used the word "fraudulent" to describe a paper or called a person a fraud. I have looked through the links Sou provided above, and have searched through McIntyre's blog and have not discovered any instances such as you describe."

For a start, Sou NEVER said that McIntyre has used the the word fraudulent to descried a paper. THAT is your straw man !!.

For a quick reminder

Sou said this "He has peppered his previous articles with words such as "fraudulent, scam, fake" etc etc."

And does he pepper his articles with words like that?

See this link

Steve writes.

"As CA readers are aware, Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia recently published an article relying on fraudulent" <-- What's that word that he peppers his post's with again?

and later in the post

"Rather than conceding the problems of his reliance on fake/fraudulent"<-- Look again, he uses that word again, plus the other word that Sou says.

Will, you have now proved beyond any reasonable doubt that you are either blind or retarded.

Man, you must be dumber than a sack of spanners!!

John Mashey said...

Google: Bradley copies fritts

Basically, McIntyre tried to claim that Ray Bradley's classic text was plagiarized... not bothering to read the permissions or understanding textbooks.

Plagiarism is serious in academe, and this spread through the usual blogs, through others equally clueless .

Of course he was wrong, abd as far as I know, never attempted to lodge a formal complaint with Ray's school... Which could have opened himself to legal counter complaints .
Fritts was appalled... But not at Ray.

It is hard to figure out any objective except defaming Ray, whose complaint against Wegman had recently become public. Of course, outside the blogs, no one cared.

Bernard J. said...

Will Richardson.

Paul Johnson called it correctly. If McIntyre is trying to obtain the IP addresses of people who responded to the "moon landing" survey then he's effectively asking for confidential information, which is subject to stringent ethical oversight. As the vice chancellor has noted McIntyre has not demonstrated good faith, and no institutional manager in his right mind would entertain allowing such a person access to that information.

On a pragmantic note you can be fairly sure that the VC's letter would have gone through UWA Legal before being sent, so there's a snowball's chance in Hell that his decision isn't correct.

Cugel said...

McIntyre doesn't want or expect the IP addresses, he wants to be denied them so he can then claim that there's a cover-up of ... something. That's what his FoI brainwave was about. Open accusation is not his style; insinuation is all. He does forget himself from time to time, though, as Sou has documented.

Hats off to Prof Johnson and the UWA. It's time to impress on these people just how marginalised from decent society they really are.

rxc and jlm said...

Do cognitive scientists ever make falsifiable predictions regarding experiments that can be reproduced and measured, or predictions of natural phenomenon that can be directly observed and measured by anyone with the necessary equipment?

Sou said...

It's not my field and I'm not sure if there are HW readers who are experts in cognitive science.

What I've gleaned from my limited reading of the subject suggests the answer is "yes" in regard to experiments that can be reproduced and measured.

Cognitive science would have influenced a number of spheres, not least of which would be education and advertising.

I'm not sure what you mean by "predictions of natural phenomenon". Are you referring to "natural" human behaviour in response to a particular set of stimuli according to different, say, mental models?

Sou said...

Ross McKitrick makes a strange comment. (It almost comes across as a threat.)

shub said...

McIntyre does not want the IP addresses of individual respondents. He wants the server address of the originating host for the survey. These must be available to Lewandowsky since he appears to have used different forms for venues.

guthrie said...

But what possible use is knowing the place the survey was hosted at? Does he expect a minion to go and hack into it and get all the juicy IP addresses in a plausibly deniable way?

Sou said...

McIntyre said right up the top that he asked for a "complete copy of Lewandowsky’s Hoax data". That would include IP addresses of individual respondents.

His latest letter limits this a tad, to blog sources and dates which, knowing Steve, he'd probably try to track to individuals by going to the blogs in question.

He's weird enough as it is, but he's even nuttier on this issue in particular as his multiplicity of blog articles shows. I wouldn't trust him with data of this nature. IMO the V-C was correct in his response. I hope it will help other unis when Steve harasses his next target.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Hotwhopper,

It is interesting to see your comments. However, in many cases you are demonstrably wrong. Let's take an example. You say:

"One recent example I recall was when Steve McIntyre trying to argue that the Marcott study was wrong. But Steve was focusing on the core tops instead of the cores and other proxies (and IIRC Steve was wrong in that case, too).

That was a classic example of how he tried to distract his follower's attention from the study itself. He focused solely on the most recent years instead of on the previous 11,000 years. Steve acted as if he wanted to hide (or even deny) what Marcott et al's research suggested - we are already experiencing an Earth that is as hot as or maybe even hotter than any time in the past 11,000 years".

Now who do you think said that the 20th century portion of their paleotemperature stack is "not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes" and could not be the basis for any conclusions in the paper? Who said their methods would prevent the authors from examining "variations in rates of change occurring within a century"? That any "small 'upticks' or 'downticks' in temperature that last less than several hundred years" in their compilation of paleoclimate data are "probably not robust"? Watts, Monckton, Singer, McIntyre? Well no, it was the authors themselves after realizing the correctness of Steven McIntyre's analysis (see http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/fresh-thoughts-from-authors-of-a-paper-on-11300-years-of-global-temperature-changes/ ).

I give you credit for linking to Climate Audit. Let those with the ability to read and understand start to learn.


Sou said...

Geoff, while it's no surprise for a science denier, you are misrepresenting Shawn Marcott.

What you (and they) are referring to is the last few years of their reconstruction. About 40 out of the previous 11,300 years.

This touches on the very point I was making! McIntyre spent all his time trying to prove wrong what the scientists themselves said was unreliable. He's a nutter. He wasted so much time on that to distract from the main findings of the paper itself - and particularly what that means in regard to our current rapid global warming.

We are currently at or maybe hotter than at any time in the past 11,300 years.

You, too, are confusing the McIntyre tripe with what the scientists themselves write. (At least you had the grace to link to dot earth, even though you didn't understand what I wrote and didn't understand what the scientists found.)

HotWhopper readers will know very well that the Marcott study aligned it's data with the instrumental record:

To compare our Standard5×5 reconstruction with modern climatology, we aligned the stack's mean for the interval 510 to 1450 yr B.P. (where yr B.P. is years before 1950 CE) with the same interval's mean of the global Climate Research Unit error-in-variables (CRU-EIV) composite temperature record (2), which is, in turn, referenced to the 1961–1990 CE instrumental mean (Fig. 1A).

I've written about the sort of rubbish you write already.


You can see the paper itself. It's open access with registration.


You'll learn nothing from Steve McIntyre except maybe how to make nasty insinuations about scientists while avoiding libel suits (so far).

KR said...

I am not at all surprised that the UWA Vice-Chancellor characterized his requests as "vexatious". For reference, the Australian Freedom Of Information Act 1982 - Sect 89L, Vexatious applicants--grounds for declaration, part 4A:

"abuse of the process for an access action" includes, but is not limited to, the following: (a) harassing or intimidating an individual or an employee of an agency

The numerous blog posts implying or flatly accusing Lewandowsky of fraud, scam, dishonesty, etc., certainly qualify as harassment.

A psychiatrist I know once said, if on first impression someone comes off as an a**hole, they are likely suffering from some form of personality disorder. IMO Steve McIntyre fits the bill in that regard, on first and on subsequent impressions.

caerbannog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
caerbannog said...

The 20th Century portion of the reconstruction wasn't robust because few of the proxies extended into the 20th Century.

But that is a complete non-issue, because Marcott et al weren't trying to reconstruct 20th Century temperatures. The intent was to reconstruct temperatures of *thousands of years ago*. That is where the reconstruction is quite robust.

We already have a number of robust reconstructions for the past 1 to 2 thousand years (including the 20th Century).

The obsession with Marcott et al's 20th century results (a time period that was not the target of their reconstruction) is, frankly, driven by less than honest motives.

As for past temperature variations occurring within a century, if there were any past variations comparable to the warming we've seen during the past few decades, what could possibly be responsible? Sudden solar variations? No evidence of that. Atmospheric CO2 "spikes"? No evidence of any of those. And if there were CO2 "spikes", what physical mechanisms would remove the excess CO2 from the atmosphere so rapidly that such warming events wouldn't be recorded in the proxy data?

There are no plausible physical mechanisms that could cause global temperature swings (on par with the recent temperature increases) of durations too short to be recorded in the proxy data. None. If you don't understand why, then maybe you should enroll in an Earth Science 101 course at a local community college.

I'm going to be blunt here -- the attacks on Marcott et al are based on a mixture of incompetence and dishonesty.

dhogaza said...

Legally, I think it could be read as a threat. Regardless, someone ought to save it. The mindset is clear … "cooperate or risk having your university's network hacked".

caerbannog said...

From the strange comment:
"This is starting to feel like the summer of 2009 all over.
And we all* know how that story ended."

Yes, we *do* know how that story ended. McIntyre and Co got all of that data nearly three years ago. They got everything they wanted from the CRU.

And what have they done with the data since? Anyone here have a link to the global temperature results that McIntyre computed with the data he demanded (and got) from the CRU? Anyone?

Captain Flashheart said...

It's hilarious that McIntyre the thug and WUWT got so heated up about this moon landing paper, because they were so sure their denialist camp is innocent of this smear, only to have a whole brace of moon landing denialists turn up on WUWT a few months later. At the time of the paper they were livid about having the moon-landing conspiracy in the title (foxgoose, I recall, was hounding Lewandowsky about it on his blog for days) - but they have evidence on their own blogs of the presence of these conspiracy theorists.

Then of course McIntyre confirmed everything with his elaborate conspiracies over exploratory factor analysis - which anyone could have done, and he just lacked the talent to complete. He is a clueless, paranoid hack.

shub said...

So you are outraged by your own characterization of what's meant by 'complete data', not what he actually wrote? Ok, then.

Guthrie, the possible use in knowing where the survey responses are coming from is to verify Lewandowsky's claims:

(1) that the survey was posted in skepticalscience, which, the authors claim, had a widespread readership and was therefore exposed to skeptics
(2) to verify whether skeptics responses (or any responses) originated from Skepticalscience, as the authors claim
(3) to assess proportions of skeptic responses from the referring sites and verify whether they correlate with the authors claims

Whatever we might feel about this matter, I think we can agree, getting data from 1377 respondents is an impressive feat and representing they came from Skepticalscience when it looks like the survey was never posted there, amounts to a falsehood. Why would the Lewandowsky team do this? They have no reason to.

Releasing the raw survey data would settle the question easily. Dragging this question is putting his passionate defenders at risk whereas releasing the data can potentially make the requestors look like fools. Why not release it then?

Sou said...

Shub - that's enough. The university is not giving data to Steve McIntyre so that's that. He's shown that he's not objective for one thing. For another, he's already amply demonstrated that he's not competent to analyse the data.

In fact no more comments from you till you answer my question above. Since the earliest report of the paper I found was at the Guardian 27 July, while Barry was talking about an unrelated article dated 20 July - and the moon landing paper was only accepted on 7 July (and published in March 2013) - I find your claim implausible.

What's even worse is that Barry seems to think he should be allowed to "refute" scientists (wrongly I might add) while he should be immune from having his own errors pointed out. I guess that would be classified as PV=persecuted victim.

Catmando said...

Sou, a few comments down from McKitrick's is one from Eric Worrall where he calls you male. Doesn't give much confidence in his ability, does it?

shub said...

Sou, what question of yours above am I supposed to answer? Are you referring to the other thread?

John Mashey said...

Although it's not exactly my field either, the answer is yes.

See Wikipedia for an explanation.

I did take grad-level Sensation and Perception in school, created a supervisory groups @ Bell Labs that combined computer scientists and cognitive psychologists (who would be called cognitive scientists these days). About 10% of the staff in our lab fit that, because they were valuable..

I occasionally correspond with some good ones.

As usual in an emerging field, it can be confusing.

Sou said...

Yes, I am.

Sou said...

Yeah, I saw that. Eric seems to think Steve McIntyre is a climate scientist, which he's not. He also thinks that global warming is all "natural" with no human cause. Eric's not too hot on logic or research. I'm not sure that Steve would choose to have Eric comment. He doesn't exactly add credibility to CA. (But then, neither does Steve McIntyre!)


guthrie said...

Wait, having the IP of the originating host for the survey enables Macintyre to work out the IP and origins of the people filling it in?
And this doesn't break all the rules about confidentiality how? And i still don't understand how having the server address for the survey lets him find the IP's. Shub really isn't making any sense here.

George Montgomery said...

Here's an unintended consequence of Velcro's comment: "Never expect a university with ivy on the walls to ever change or admit its errors. No wonder UWA is now the last ranked university in WA."

Velcro would never post this at the blog site of the UWA graduate, Jo Nova. Somewhat devalues her credentials, if that's possible. Which leads to …

"Steve has said he's trying to get someone else to surreptitiously get data for him to misconstrue. Guess who else put up his hand. None other than Eric "eugenics" Worrall!"

Guess who didn't publicly put her hand up to help Steve? If Steve does get his hands on some hard data, we'll know who the mole is. (And I mean all that in the nicest possible way.)

shub said...

McIntyre does -not- want the IP addresses of survey takers. Just the referring server's address. Only a small proportion of survey takers would have landed on the survey page by typing in the page URL into the browser address bar or copy-pasting. A significant majority would have followed a link by clicking on it. This meta-data would be available to Kwiksurvey and the service subscriber.

Sou said...

George, that could be classed as conspiracy ideation (just kidding).

Steve wrote: " I’m trying to make arrangements for a data request by a research psychologist."

He's already got someone lined up, if they're silly enough to cooperate with him.

Anonymous said...

Don't bother Geoff, the rules here are
1 Sou is always right.
2 when Sou is wrong refer to rule #1

Sou: Reposted after deletion. I mistook Anonymous for Greig, who is banned. I was wrong.

metzomagic said...

What caerbannog says above regarding the unscientific attack on Marcott is almost exactly what I say every time an AGW denier proposes that there could be temperature spikes undetected by the proxies. What would be the physical basis for these spikes? They can never answer that one. It's always *crickets*.

They're all just McIntyre sycophants, uncritically latching on to every accusation the guy makes. And since when have any of McIntyre's claims of fraud against climate scientists ever stuck? Never. He's an obnoxious serial nitpicker whose claims are usually unfounded. And even when they do occasionally stick, his nitpicks don't substantially change the results of the papers he's attacking.

KR said...

The Marcott attacks are really sad - even if the proxies cannot resolve or separate short spikes, they can certainly detect them. See Taminos Monte Carlo test here, see also some frequency response analyses I ran here with a worst case here.

No such spikes appear in the Marcott data - they are imaginary pink unicorns postulated by people in denial.

While I feel the RegEM reconstruction Marcott et al produced was superior to their Standard 5x5, more robust to proxy drop-out, the 20th century is by no means the focus of the paper. Arguments based on that are strawmen fallacies.

BBD said...

Well no, it was the authors themselves after realizing the correctness of Steven McIntyre's analysis

Bollocks. Those remarks are all verbatim or close paraphrases from the original paper. You are completely confused, which isn't surprising given that you have been lied to.

Bernard J. said...

Given the angst about denier psychology, and in particular the spotlight that Lewandowsky shone on it, I think that it's time to remind some of the posters here of George Marshall's observations on the subject:


David Sanger said...

It gets worse

"The data itself must be damning for them to want to protect it this much in violation of their own policy"

": some of the responses to the poll that McIntyre wants to examine came from within the University itself, creating another, more culpable conflict of interest "

lol: "It occurs to me that there is a *very* good chance that their is NO data at all – none, nada, zilch. How could that have happened? If Lewandowsky simply drafted the entire report as a piece of fiction backing his beliefs, and then manufactured the pretense of a survey in order to try to cover the fact that the paper and all of its conclusions were already written before the project was officially started it. And all of his partners knew about this from the start and applauded it, because it was “good for the cause”."

How do you spell conspiracy theories again?

MikeH said...

IPCC Lead Author and Frontiers associate editor, Professor Roger Jones from Victoria University has an article.

It has not been comment bombed by the loons yet.